Back To Winning Ways

Forest Row  0 (0) v (0) 1 Godalming

I believe I am correct when I say that in the two years since August ’21 and the 5-1 pounding that Godalming took on their first ever visit to Tinsley Lane, we have won all three games there since. Coming so soon after the Vase exit on Saturday, which I had to miss, it was difficult to know what to expect on this trip especially as Forest Row topped the table overnight. No worries though as our management shuffled the available cards and the players served up as complete a performance as we have seen for ooh, it must be a couple of weeks to bring back the 3 points.

Ollie Ballam was between the sticks and Rikkie Letch having come on and been played deeper than usual in the last two matches started this game at centre back alongside Jimmy Norman. The full backs were Jack Sherwood to their right and Matt Cox to their left. Skipper James Mariner in front of them with Ross Cheek, Luca Scannella and Jason Vincent completing the midfield. Cameron Edwin up front supported by Josh di Parma making his debut. Four on the bench; Will ab-Iowerth, Jason Cotton, Ben Matthews and Keiran Ferguson.

A brief hiatus just before kick-off as a Forest Row official stepped in to run the line in the absence/injury of the named assistant; many thanks to him and compliments on a good game. An early long ball from Jimmy Norman was headed away from our forward line and back to the Forest Row keeper. Ross Cheek and Jason Vincent combined to get the ball in to Josh Di Palma whose shot earned the Gee’s first corner. Ross took it and saw the keeper punch the ball clear. Another Cheeky cross found Cameron Edwin on the right; Cam slotted the ball to Jack Sherwood who had his run into the box stopped by the opposition defence. Cheeky picked up a Matt Cox throw in and tried his luck from the edge of the box forcing a save. Josh and Jason combined well together and the latter’s cross just evaded the incoming Cam.

25 minutes gone and Ross was brought down 10 yards outside the box, Jimmy’s free kick was fumbled away by the keeper. We saw plenty of confident possession play across the back four patiently waiting and opening up chances further forward, Rikkie Letch being the main orchestrator. We only know him as a forward but there is certainly a defensive head there. Unfortunately, he was beaten to a ball on a Forest Row break with 5 minutes to half time, the forward’s shot coming off Ollie’s post. 0-0 at the whistle, the best chance to the home side and their only one of note, but Godalming were well on top of possession and looking quite comfortable.

As you were for the 2nd half but within the first 5 minutes Ryan Huckle, the Home No.7 suffered a bad knee injury which unfortunately ultimately required an ambulance to attend. We wish him all the best and a speedy recovery. Godalming restarted after a lengthy delay sitting with possession and carving half chances as they had in the 1st half. Mazza fed the ball out wide right to Jack who saw his cross grabbed by the keeper. Jimmy and Matt combined similarly on the other flank, but we lacked bodies in the area. All going to plan but then a moments loss of concentration in the middle of the park ended with a Forest Row shot flashing across Ollie to hit the post for the 2nd time. A let off but that is football and how often in the past have we not been the beneficiaries of a bit of good fortune?

Forest Row had a player sin binned. Jimmy saw another long-range effort sail over and Jack, Jason and Luca combined to set up Matt who won a corner.  Jack shot over after being played in by Mazza picking up on good approach play by Ross and Matt. 70 minutes played and Josh was upended inside the opposition half. Mazza found Ross with the resulting free kick, a Cheeky pick up and overhead kick and it was 1-0 Gees, and with it our 3rd contender for goal of the season. Josh Di Palma was replaced by Jason Cotton, an impressive debut. Within minutes of the goal Cam had a header from a corner in the net but it was ruled out for pushing? although no one was certain just why after the game. Jason V, not Jason C (Note to Management: Tony, there’s a lot of ‘J’s’ in the squad now) was brought down outside the box, Jimmy’s free kick trickled through the wall only to be cleared. 5 minutes left but with an awful lot of stoppage time to be added and Cam was replaced by Keiran Ferguson. Jimmy Norman stepped up to take a Gees corner, Mazza was first to the ball and unfortunate to see it slip over the bar. Ollie had an easy save to make from a rare Forest Row attack such was the dominance of our play. One last chance for the home side and their keeper came up into our half to take a free kick which went safely out for a goal kick. Ross had time to indulge in a little ‘corner flagging’ and after something like 14 additional minutes the final whistle blew.

A great bounce back after the last couple of games and a change of style which brought out a great performance from each of the Godalming players out there. We take that forward to Banstead at home when we go again next Saturday.